A brother inquired about the availability of photographs of our pious predecessors (akabir), especially Hakim al-Umma Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanawi (may Allah have mercy on him).
Our akabir do not approve of photography of living creatures.
They acknowledge the fiqhi dispensation for essential governmental requirements. But without a genuine reason they consider it impermissible.
However, it can not be denied that their photographs do exist .
These were taken without their knowledge and permission.
If they would have known they would have vehemently disapproved of it and urged the perpetrator to destroy these pictures.
The following incident is an example for us,
A person brought a rare picture of Hakim al-Umma Thanawi (may Allah have mercy on him) to Mawlana Hakim Akhter sahib (may Allah preserve him) expecting some reward and appreciation. Immediately after listening to his introduction and prior to having a glimpse of the picture Hakim sahib tore it into pieces . He commented that Hazrat Thanawi would have never approved of it.
How can we claim to follow our akabir when we practice against what they taught?